Statistics and markets

Italian ceramic machinery turnover tops 2 billion euros

Paolo Sassi, ACIMAC's Chairman

The Italian ceramic machinery sector continues to have the wind in its sails, closing 2016 with a further 2.3% rise in sales to 2.028 billion euros following three years of growth.

This marked an all-time record turnover for this important Italian capital goods sector.

"The 2016 results reflect our companies’ leadership position and the strength of an industry that is capable of maintaining a presence in all world markets and delivering innovations tailored to the needs of different types of customers in keeping with the latest Industry 4.0 trends," said Paolo Sassi, chairman of the sector’s trade association Acimac.

These results were driven excellent performances both in the domestic market (+4.5%), bringing turnover in Italy to 481.3 million euros, and in international markets (+1.6%), which in 2016 generated revenues of 1,546.4 million euros, 76.3% of the total.

  • The Italian market

2016 marked the fourth consecutive growth year for the Italian market. Investments made by the important Italian clientele generated turnover growth of more than 100 million euros (up 44% on 2013).

"This demonstrates the importance of the Sassuolo cluster as a technological hub for performing research and industrial development of cutting-edge solutions," said Sassi.

  • The structure of the sector

Employment saw an equally positive trend, rising by 6.2% (compared to +0.4% the previous year) to a total of 6,614 people.

At the same time the number of companies operating in the sector remained more or less stationary at 147 compared to 148 in 2015.

"This demonstrates that our companies are focusing on growth by expanding human resources, an aspect that is critical to the development of our business," commented Sassi.

  • Exports

The Italian ceramic machinery industry continues to be highly export-oriented and has maintained its world-leading role in the sector.

It has an extensive presence in international markets with export shares divided equally amongst the main regions.

The largest area of export in 2016 was the European Union with a turnover of 342 million euros (22.1% of total turnover), 23.3% up on 2015.

Southeast Asia dropped to second place with 15.4% of total turnover, down from 277.9 million to 238.2 million euros (-14.3%). In third place, the Middle East saw 25.1% growth (233.5 million euros, 15.1% of global exports).

North America climbed to fourth place in 2016 with 8.5% growth to 174.5 million euros.

In fifth place was Eastern Europe with 158.9 million euros (+3.9%), 10.3% of total exports.

South America fell to sixth place following a 14.6% contraction to 158.7 million euros.

Next came Africa with a total of 148.6 million euros (-27.1%), China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with 90.8 million euros (+20.4%) and Oceania with a turnover of 1.2 million euros.

  • Internationalisation of production

Along with exports, a total turnover of almost 500 million euros was generated by the 67 companies operating outside Italy but controlled by Italian firms.

  • Client sectors

Sales to tile manufacturers continue to make up the largest share of the sector’s turnover. In 2016 the turnover generated in this sector grew by 4.1% to a total of 1,702.4 million euros, equivalent to 84.1% of the total.

Sales to brick and roof tile manufacturers fell from 156.1 to 152.8 million euros (-2.1%), although it remained the second largest client sector.

Sales to the sanitaryware sector also fell, dropping from 126.9 million to 114.4 million euros (-9.9%), mainly due to a sharp decline in sales in the Italian market (-50.3%).

In fourth place came sales to producers of refractories with an 11.8% decline in 2016. As a result, total turnover fell from 39.3 million to 34.7 million euros in spite of 84.2% growth in the Italian market. The technical ceramics sector also saw a significant fall with sales down 26.7% to 5.0 million euros. By contrast, sales of machinery for tableware and giftware rose by 2.5%, largely due to the strong performance of the domestic market.

  • 2017 forecasts

The initial forecasts for the current year are positive. The figures for the first quarter of the year published by the Acimac Research Department reveal 13.3% growth driven by the record performance in the Italian market (+60.6%). "Many of our companies have an almost completely full order book for 2017 and are beginning to plan deliveries for early 2018," commented Sassi. "We therefore expect to see slight end-of-year growth with respect to the already excellent results of 2016."

  • Read the complete article published on Ceramic World Review 123/2017